The result of a protective order differs for each case based upon the circumstances. Protective orders can cover adult victims as well as child victims. It is possible that an adult victim receive a protective order from their co-parent but the protective order does not cover the parties’ child. In these instances, some parents question whether a protective order can provide any relief if the parties share a child. Even though adult victims and offenders may need to communicate about their child, protective orders can still serve their primary purpose.
When children are not the subject of a protective order, the protective order still serves its purpose to prevent any threats or potential harm to the adult victim. When parties to a protective order share a child, they cannot likely cease all communication. Therefore, courts often instruct the offender that they are not allowed to communicate with the adult victim except for those items solely relating to the child. Consequently, it would be a violation of the protective order if the offender harassed, threatened or communicated in any direct or indirect manner with the adult victim which was not necessary and did not solely relate to the care of the parties’ child. Similarly, courts will often instruct the offender that they are not allowed to go to the adult victim’s residence or place of employment unless it was necessary for the exchange of the child for parenting time.
Protective orders are meant to provide for the safety of individuals by disallowing any unnecessary communication and contact between the parties. Protective orders are enforceable both civilly and criminally. If an offender violates a protective order, the prosecutor may initiate a criminal case against the offender and the victim can seek contempt against the offender civilly. Regardless if the parties’ child is subject to the protective order, the adult victim can still seek the enforcement and protection granted by a protective order.
If you know someone who could benefit from a protective order, they should contact a qualified attorney to discuss their options and impact the protective order may have.